Hey Chicago. It's time to take off the gloves and show Rahm Emanuel that he doesn't belong in Chicago. Chicago doesn't belong to him and Washington no longer does either.
Beyond the hoopla, beyond the numbers, beyond the hype, stands Gery Chico, an experienced, dedicated, highly qualified workhorse of an individual who is the most qualified person to take on the tough job of leading as mayor of America's City -- Chicago.
I spent time tonight with an old friend, Lenny, who worked closely with Chico while he was President of Chicago School Board. We were at an art opening making chit-chat. Lots of people work for bosses they don't like. This wasn't the case with Lenny. He greatly admired and respected Gery Chico when he worked for him, and still does. He's campaigning for him now. Why does he feel this way?
This is what Lenny told me. Gery Chico is a straight shooter who tells it like it is. He doesn't pull punches. He doesn't hide behind politics. He works with the people and cares for the city he works for. Chicago isn't a stop-off for higher ambitions as another candidate might imagine.
This story is about HOW Chico works. Lenny has seen other politicians give the same busy-work assignments to seven different people while spending their own time politicking and chewing the fat. Instead, according to Lenny, Gery Chico was hands-on, and used project management skills to make the most of the Chicago citizens' money on each project he was responsible for. He asked his staffers for reports, data, progress and kept close tabs on tasks that led to the desired end results, under budget.
Lenny told me that when someone reported to Chico, he empowered that person to contribute, prove and convince. He never dictated but wanted each person, including Lenny, to provide the data and proof if that staffer had a new idea or suggestion. Then Chico followed up on what was right -- versus dictating what he wanted, as some others might do who are running for mayor right now :) Chico, in contrast, believed in teamwork. He listened and responded to those who had hard evidence for their arguments instead of pushing any type of self-centered agenda. He backed good things that got DONE.
According to Lenny, Chico worked with the people of Chicago and his staff members to make the best decisions and pragmatic moves to improve the city instead of trying to "rahm" his way down the public's throat with his own wants and ambitions.
Personally, I watched the recent WTTW mayoral panel. When reporter Carol Marin asked which among the mayoral candidates was bullied in school, Chico was the only one who didn't raise his hand. My coworkers asked, "Does that mean he was a bully?" I totally thought the opposite: he was instead someone who wasn't a bully but who stood up for himself. The back story goes that his younger brother was being attacked, with someone was actually on his brother's back. Gery Chico ran to his brother's defense and knocked the guy down, clocking him. After standing up for his brother and himself a couple of times on the south side of Chicago, the goofballs laid off, respecting him and leaving him alone. We need someone like Gery Chico, someone who can stand up to all comers and keep Chicago strong.
Chico went to Chicago Public Schools and so did his kids. He walked into City Hall, by himself, while still a junior in college (UIC) and asked for a job. He didn't loll around the north shore, get extra privileges and connections, and turn wimpy getting knocked off his bike, needing to be rescued by his younger brother, like you know who. Chico is our man. Chico for Chicago.